-through wacky eyes of Crystal-
As soon as International Aroid Society announced the 44th IAS Show and Sale schedule, Plant Friends ATL crew immediately started plotting our diabolical journey down to Miami Florida.
With the show being on 9/24 (Sat) ~ 25 (Sun), our plan was to leave Atlanta GA Thursday evening, driving all through the night to arrive in Miami FL by Friday morning.
The PreparationThere are 5 of us (Erica, Noel, Victoria,Xavier and me) and fortunately we have a Suburban giving us plenty of space for all of us plus all the plants we will be coming back home with. Thursday was a mixture of frantically packing and making sure our plants are watered, sprayed and humidifiers filled (I may or may not have told a few of the diva plants to not throw a tantrum while I'm gone). We decided to pack very lightly into 1 bag each so we would have maximum space for the plants (I know, I know, crazy plant people). Made sure we were dressed comfortably with a neck pillow and blanket in tow in preparation of the 12+ hour drive ahead. Snacks, check. Cart for easy plant transport during the IAS show, check. 2 large tubs for the amazing leafy treasures we will find, check! Off to our journey at 9pm Thursday night.
I have to mention that Noel was a trooper driving 98% of the 12 hour drive! Without Noel, this would not be possible. Thank you Noel a.k.a. Master Packer a.k.a. Iron Man a.k.a. Super Noel. With Super Noel, we were able to take turns in the 3rd row to lie down for a quick nap. The rest is a blur as we were in and out of sleep only stopping 4 times for a quick break.
Florida~ we are here~As the sun came up and our tummies rumblin', we were in Miami! A quick stop at Dunkin' Donuts for some much needed caffeine and snacks. Our bodies were ready for the adventure ahead of us as we were half filled with caffeine and the excited energy of the unknown. The unknown of what kind of beauties we will find on this trip!
Perfect Choice NurseryBy Friday morning 8:05am we have arrived at our first destination, Perfect Choice Nursery, and got straight to "work". We were the first ones there so we were let lose in this paradise and it was like kids lose in candy store or opening time at Black Friday sale (whichever image suits you the best).
With permission from the lovely owners, we were able to stream live on our Plant Friends ATL Facebook Page. I'll let the video do the talking for this portion.
The Hollywood BeachWe had some spare time before our next schedule and with the beach near by, we just couldn't resist the emerald waters. Mind you, we still have not checked into our hotel yet nor had a change of clothes at this point.
The Private Tour
We were fortunate enough to be invited on a private tour at Mike D'Andrea's house. Mike is a well-known figure in the community and is responsible for the Monstera "King Green", Monstera Deliciosa "Oceana" and many more. This was really an eye opening experience for me personally and in my head I heard a *ding* sound indicating I have achieved the next level (yes, I think in game and cartoon form). I will keep this tour private as it was at his residence. Some takeaway photos below though. Spent about 1 1/2 hours at his place and it was not enough. Mike has an absolutely stunning collection. This tour should be like Louve museum tour, segmented to different sections for different days. We were blown away by all the gorgeous plants at every corner we turned, I'm pretty sure there are many, many plants that we missed. I wish I could camp out in the paradise he has created.
Had a quick bite to eat and we headed to our abode for this trip at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Kendall East - Miami, which is a quick drive to the Fairchild Botanical Garden where the 44th IAS show is held at.
We had had a quick shower and an hour to rest before we headed out for dinner.
With great food and great company, the dinner was an absolute blast.
Day 1 OverAfter our dinner was done, we had to do a quick stop by at Mike's house again since we were contemplating on getting more plants from him during dinner and we just couldn't wait. I really should not have held back so much on few of the plants that I am still regretting even right now as I am writing this blog. We hurried back to our hotel around 7:30pm and decided to call it a day early as we would have to wake up early to be one of the first ones in line for the IAS show.
Day 2 to be continued...